Fish, cheese, Cafe’ 180 and shopping

Blizzard and Sherlock got new tanks, they are super happy about it.

Sherlock has really grown!

We have some fruit on the counter next to their tanks and they both like to attack the oranges. Midnight chooses to float and spit out the skin of the worms he eats – gross.

This morning Hannah and I went to Whole foods for a cheese co-op. I was glad that someone put this together, she has been wanting to go to their cheese class, but that is really for adults.

So, we learned that you can make cheese from just about anything you can milk; but, we usually use cow, sheep, goat or water buffalo milk to make cheese. You can also make cheese out of almond milk (and I would assume rice milk, etc.) Cheese can be hard or soft, it can be colored with mold or ash, it can be sweet or strong and every flavor in-between. Cheese came about by accident, a guy was herding his goats and had some milk in a canteen – the heat and shaking caused the milk to turn into cheese. We tasted cheese that was young (3 months aged) and cheese that was old (2 years aged.) Our cheese guy Kyle said that he had tasted some 20 year old cheese and it was good (and expensive – $90 a pound!)

France is the leader in cheese-making with over 1,500 kinds and styles of cheese. We also learned that our favorite kind of cheese, aged gouda, has tiny crystals of tyrosine, an amino acid, that are good for your brain. Now, pictures of cheese.

I had a co-op at Cafe’ 180 and shopping, but everyone was sick or made other plans, so it was just us. We had a great lunch and the cafe’ and then went by the antique stores, fish shop and thrift stores. Grace found a fish statue, Hannah found some pajama pants, Bethany found a drawing stand and Mickey tie, I found some piano books, paints, and shirt. A good haul.

I’m thankful for: my homeschool group, good food, shopping with my girls, gas in the car, a beautiful day before the storms hit.


We had a sub teaching NIA class this morning, I like Jo, but she is go-go-go. I had just enough time to grab some stuff at the store and then do a bit of school before leaving for the library to teach my art co-op. Bethany used the tangram pieces for math, now she has to find the area and perimeter of all the pieces used and use ratios to translate that into a bigger model.

Hannah just used the pieces to play.

Here is a link to virtual tangrams.

At my co-op we were learning about Madhubani Indian painting.

Madhubani painting was traditionally created by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in Mithila region in Nepal and India. It was originated in a Madhubhani village.

This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas originated among the villages around Madhubani.

The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice.

Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same.

Madhubani paintings also use two dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.

Madhubani paintings mostly depict the men & its association with nature and the scenes & deity from the ancient epics.

Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women.

Map of India here. About India for kids here. Time for kids about India here. Indian henna designs here.

We talked about symmetry, repetition, borders, and bright colors. As you can see, some pictures were finished, and some weren’t. We read two stories, talked about Madhubani, looked over idea sheets, sketched and painted while Hindi music was playing, it was nice.

Bacteria, plants and fungi

That’s what Bethany was up to today in Biology. She did a slideshow here and here about her picks for bacteria and plants. The Cyanobacteria looks very cool when it’s microscopic.


We’ve seen it in blooms in a lake too, not so great looking then. You can find out more about Cyanobacteria here. Grace is working on volume of cones and applications for that in math. This site has tutorials for finding the volume of cones and pyramids. Hannah is still working on fractions, there are lots of good fraction games out there, here is one site that she likes.

After a bit of school we went to Pizza Doodle to have a ‘make your own pizza’ co-op. Hannah and Grace had their hand made pizzas, Bethany had a calzone and I had a nice salad. We learned how to play farkel while waiting on our pizzas and got addicted to it. Luckily we have more than 6 die at home, so no need to go buy the game just to get dice. After that we went by the music store to get Hannah a stand for her djembe and I also got a drum, a darbuka, so that I won’t have to borrow one at drum circle.

We have cabbage soup with carrots, onions and squash cooking in the crockpot for dinner. Drum circle at 6 and the gym at 8:30 tonight will wrap up my day.


Here’s my HS group’s co-op list for session 1, mine are **


02 M Play Stations FUN 2:30p
03 TU Pizza Party at PizzaDoodle 11:00 – ?
04 W Mathletics Club 1PM
06 F Princess and Pirate Party 10:00-12:00
07 SA Beginning Parkour 4:15-6pm
09 M Madhubani paintings 1pm**
10 TU Kids in the Kitchen 11am
11 W CGH Valentine’s Party 2-4pm
12 TH Heart & Circulatory system for Preschoolers 1:00pm
13 F Tubing in Keystone 10am
16 M Ice Skating at Southwest Rink, 1pm
17 TU US Mint Tour 3:30 PM
18 W Craft Hope finger puppets 1-3 pm
19 TH Cafe 180 and Shopping 1pm**
20 F Platte River Nature Center 1pm
22 SU Light Painting Photography 3-5pm
25 W Fine Motor Skills Games and Activities 10 AM
27 F Service At The Jeffco Action Center, 10-12 PM


03 TU Reader’s Theater 4:00-6:00
04 W Super Smash Brothers Wii u Tournament 1:30pm
05 F Big Time Tramploline Fun Center 10am
08 SU Learn to Knit 2:30-4:30
11 TH PreK-1st EARTH! 2pm
13 F Skate City Homeschool Skate 12pm
15 SU Middle Eastern dinner and cultural night 4pm
16 M Springtime Books & Crafts, 2pm
17 TU Saint Patrick’s Day Party for Littles 10:00 – 12:00
18 W Swimming at the Link 1pm
19 TH Introduction to Belly Dancing 11:30 am
21 SA Monica Kadillak: Cuban Cuisine Cooking, Adults 3p
24 TU Geology Museum 10:30 am
27 F X-Treme Challenge Arena Super Ninja Training! 11am
27 F Big Hero 6 Movie Night, Parents Night Out 6:00-9:00
31 TU Nature Walk & Bird Observation @ S. Platte Park 1pm


02 TH Charlotte’s Web 11:30-1 pm
03 F GrowHaus Tour DD/Teens 10 am
03 F Minecraft LAN Party 4pm
07 TU Impasto painting 1:30pm**
10 F Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum 11 – 12:30pm
13 M Kickball and Cooperative games 12:30 to 3 pm
16 TH Fondue party 5:30 p.m.
17 F Mini Cross Bows 1pm
20 M Mythical creatures 1:30 pm**
21 TU Fiske Planetarium Lab, Show and Live talk 1pm
23 TH Swasher Games with Renaissance Adventures 1:30
24 F Nature Scavenger Hunt and Pot Luck 11:30-2:30 PM
26 SU All about the bees 1:30
29 W Build a Bridge (and get over it) 1:00-4:00
30 TH Swasher Games back up date 1:30-2:30


01 F Scary Movie Night/Warm Bodies 4pm
06 W Garden of the Gods Hike/Scavenger Hunt 11 AM
07 TH Aquatic Critters 1-2:45pm
08 F CO Wolf & Wildlife Feeding Tour 4p
10 SU Aquaponics, Worms and Bees 10:30 am – 12pm
11 M Exploring Chatfield Botanic Gardens 10 – 11:30am
12 TU Putter’s Pride Mini Golf 1:00 P.M.
13 W What is Street Art 10a
14 TH Robotics tour 1pm**
15 F Nature Games 1-3pm
16 SA Origami “Balloons” and Samurai Hats 1pm
18 M Street Art of Denver Tour 10a
20 W Spring Pet Fair 1:30pm
21 TH GPS Systems and Satellites 1pm
27 W What’s Wild Nature Program for PreK- K, 10am-11am

Silk road

Today we had a co-op at the Nature and Science museum about the Silk road. The schools in the area must have been trying to use up field trip money, because there were a lot of kids there. Before we started the tour there was a surprise for Grace. I had known for over a week that one of her best friends was coming into town, but I kept quiet. At the museum I told Grace to turn around and there he was! She was so shocked that she couldn’t say anything to him and then she started crying. Hunter has grown since he left for WV….grown a lot!

We gathered the kids and went up to the exhibit.

We found out about the silk industry in China and how all along the silk road the merchants would trade pieces of silk for other things they needed. They had a glass case with real silkworms in it, which I thought was very cool until I remembered that as a kid I had a whole tree full of worms in the neighbors mulberry tree (that we could never get mulberries off of because of all the stupid worms.) They didn’t seem as cool after that. I couldn’t take a picture of them, so here is one from the Internet.


The good news is that silk worms can’t live in Denver, so we can pick all the mulberries we want without fear of eating a worm. Of course, after the girls saw how you get the silk off of the cocoon they wanted to get some worms.

That part is pretty cool (except for the killing of the worm part.) We traveled along the exhibit and became merchants trading things we had for things we wanted or sharing information about politics or religion. There was an interactive map of the route where you could look up deserts, the spread of religion, what was traded and more. Here is what the route on land and sea looked like.


We got to see an astrolabe in action, see a ship carrying treasures and see some artifacts like: books, papers, glass, mirrors, vases and more. The end of the exhibit talked about Constantinople and there were some items from this museum about Roman times.

We learned a lot about the Silk road, what was traded and how silk was made, it was a pretty cool exhibit. Here is a site that has more info about the Silk road and some interesting numbers about the lag time in centuries of different technological achievements.

After that we went to RAFT and I got more time to look at the books on sale. The kids made some cards to put in the homeless bags on Monday and some of them bought white elephant gifts for youth group. Bethany found a book on how to be immature, Hunter found an owl pellet to dissect and a stamp and Andrew found a whole bag of crap that he called ‘homeschooler in a bag.’ There was a demo going on in the green room, so we also got to see a Rube-Goldberg machine in action.

Bethany had youth group and traded her gift in for lipstick (and someone wrapped bricks as their gift, silly kids.) We went to the mall and had dinner and then looked around before picking up Bethany. It was so good to see Hunter, we can’t wait for Friday when we get to see the rest of the gang.

It’s a wonderful life co-op

Today after school we went to a friend’s house for a Christmas co-op. We had stringing of popcorn and cranberries, a little felt bird to sew, hot cocoa and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ playing in color and black and white in two rooms (because everyone couldn’t fit in one room.) The girls were working on popcorn and cranberry strings while the boys watched the movie in the school room.

Hot cocoa was made and we moved from room to room, watching the movie, making crafts, it was fun.

Recycling t-shirts

My co-op today was turning t-shirts into scarves, bags and more.

Everyone brought at least two shirts so they could make a scarf/scarves and bag. Then we used the excess shirts to make kerchiefs, headbands, belts, ponchos and bag straps. The first item was to make a scarf.

You can cut the t-shirt under the arms straight across, then cut that in half for 2 smaller width scarves, or cut it into a large circle scarf with or without fringe. We found that some t-shirts were easier to fringe than others, but it your fringe is not tearing right just go back and cut it to the length you want and then run your fingers on each piece and pull them down.

Bethany had picked out a woman’s shirt that was ruffled and it made a great circle scarf (it must be a present for me because I like green.)

Grace made two scarves, one for her dance teacher and one for a friend.

The bag was just as easy and had two ways to make it. You cut off the sleeves and cut off the hem of the neck and bottom of shirt. Then cut fringe on the bottom and tie each piece front and back together to tie up the bottom of the bag. Or, you could scrunch the end of the shirt and tightly wrap a piece of shirt that you cut from the hem around the gathered shirt to make the bottom. I wish I had gotten more pics, C had a cute little bag from a woman’s fall colored paisley shirt. There were pink bags, blue bags, red bags and more.

These bags hold up well, we stuffed library books in them and they just stretched a bit. We have a few more shirts that are going to become bags, just because we always need bags. Here is a visual tutorial.

On the way home we stopped to see the horses in the pasture behind Target. Since this is called a ranch, they put horses in the pastures and rotate them around.

It’s been a while since they were put in the pasture nearest to us, so we stopped to say hi.

For the rest of the week: a Christmas co-op, park day, lunch with Dad, a hike and the Grinch movie at Solid grounds. I found a free Handel’s Messiah performance this Sunday, so we’ll be heading to the Springs for that, it should be very nice.

Mini-puppet theaters

That was my co-op this morning. Everyone brought a cereal box per child and we cut them, flipped them inside out, taped them back together and cut two squares in the front/back.

Then the kids decorated the front of the theaters and made popsicle puppets.

Some people made their puppets into popsicles, some people made their boxes into dioramas, some people made their boxes into monster faces.

The kids worked for an hour making puppets and then all moaned when I said they had 30 minutes left. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had said they had 2 hours left, they still would have moaned. I wish we could stay there all day making puppets, but other people were coming into the library. We didn’t have time to show off the theaters and puppets there, but some of us are going to tape a show the kids made at home and post it on the HS board. Hannah and Grace loved making the theaters because they are going to use them with their finger puppets and LPS figurines.

We went to lunch with some friends and introduced them to Pho. It was funny because one of her kids only wanted the noodles and the other only wanted the meat out of the soup. Also, they both got bobas, but they didn’t like those. Hannah was eyeing the rest of the boba and soup, but I told her no.

We got home and finished cleaning up. I made chicken marsala for dinner and roasted some cauliflower, then I spied some extra lemons and made some lemon bread for dessert. Janice came over and we talked and had dinner, the kids all got to talk to her and then the adults took off for Solid Grounds. I had made a TNO for tonight before I knew that Janice was coming over, so we just invited her to come too. We had some coffee at the shop and talked some more and talked with some new HS’ers and then said our goodbyes. She has to leave tomorrow (she usually isn’t here long when it’s for work), but we had a nice visit.


Triangle proofs are going to kill me. You’ll find me on the floor with ASA, SSA, AAA and ‘given’, ‘definition of bisector’ and more proof reasons strangling me. I love math, I treat Geometry like a rabid dog, I poke it with a stick and then run. But, here we go again, deep breath, I only have to teach this 2 more times in the future. See, not all homeschool Moms love every subject they teach and I try really, really hard to not impart that to my kids and to let them know that there is a reason for these things we do (even if I really can’t find one.) So, we tramp on through the muck of proofs (why are they congruent, because ISS – I Said So!)

After lunch we headed down to the Botanic gardens so Bethany could go to the Chihuly exhibit with some teen friends. Grace, Hannah and I went to the park and hung out. Grace climbed a tree to read her book and Hannah put out her hat and started drumming. Unfortunately the only occupants of the park at that time were homeless people, so Hannah didn’t make any money. I told her so, but she insisted on trying anyway. We picked up Bethany and drove home, I made dinner and we spent the night in. Tomorrow I have to take Maisy to the vet to get a shot update so she can stay with the lady who is taking care of her when we go on vacation. Maisy is going to be so confused when we drop her at that house. She won’t remember her visit there and she has to learn how to use a dog door to get in and out of the house….we’ll see how that goes.

Whales spotted in Denver

We have had whales in Denver, this area used to be an ocean, but the whales we saw today were in the museum. When I saw that a whale exhibit was coming to Denver, you know I made sure that it would turn into a co-op so that we could see it with our homeschool group.

Grace has been counting down the days to this exhibit since co-ops started.

I’m so glad we got to go to CA before this and see real whales.

The exhibit was a mix of skeletons, some hands-on stations like diving with a sperm whale, the sound booth where you could hear whale sounds, make a dolphin booth where you could fine tune your dolphin to ride the waves better, movies about whale riders (Maori people), pictures of whales and more. There was a giant blue whale heart you could climb through, it’s big. We were happy to see some Vaquita models, but in the stranding and extinction part of the exhibit they didn’t mention the over-fishing and net traps that have the Vaquita down to 98 porpoises.

They had a section of the exhibit about the Maori people of New Zealand and their affection for the whales that they used for food and for tool making. You can learn more about the Maori people here.

They had wonderful artifacts like:
A tabua (carved whale tooth),


waseisei (whale tooth necklace),


hoeroa (bone staff)


and more.

The docents they had there had very little knowledge of whales, the museum should have placed Grace in there instead. After talking to one of the docents, my friend had questions about what he said. No he didn’t pronounce Narwhal correctly, no those bones at the end of the whales are not support for ‘flippers’ (Grace told her that it is the vestigial ‘foot’ of the whale.) He didn’t have a clue. Where did the oil from the Sperm whale come from? The spermaceti in the melon. I could go on, I know they are just volunteers, but really, read the handouts. In the stranding section we saw a euthanasia device used on Sperm whales, that was a little sad, but those whales are so huge that when they strand they are too heavy to move and most likely have internal damage to their organs which collapse when they don’t have water to buoy them. The larger sperm whale (male) skeleton was one of the many stranded Sperm whales in Auckland. The whale was given to the Chief as a gift and was named Tu Hononga. There was also a picture of a Sperm whale grave (59 of them) in Poverty bay on Okitu beach. There was a small section about ambergris, that’s like….whale vomit, but it doesn’t come out of their mouth…now every time we go to a beach I’m going to need to bring a match and a needle so we can test every piece of brown rock that looks like ambergris (cool fact, it was used as a spice in the Middle East and was used in perfumes.) Even though Grace learned nothing new about whales, it was a great exhibit.

We wandered around the museum and got to see the new Discovery area, it’s really meant for little kids, but that doesn’t mean that older kids can’t have some fun there too. We went home with 2 extra kids, then traded those 2 for 2 more that were spending the night at our house. It was a crazy evening.